On the very western edge of the country, overlooking an unending expanse of crystal blue Pacific currents that undulate in hypnotic rhythms and seem to glisten like a thousand broken shards of glass under the cloudless sky and the warm embrace of the sun, there is a small, slim 21 mile stretch of perfect beaches and wrestling hills unlike any other place in the world. That place is Malibu. Famous worldwide for its pristine coast and for the consistent warm weather, Malibu is perhaps one of the most intriguing beach towns in the world. It is here, on the Southern California coast, where the modern wealth of celebrities, Hollywood elite, businessmen, and politicians collide peacefully with the laidback, happy-go-lucky nature of a small beach community.
You may find yourself driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, the major access point to Malibu, and wonder how such an awe inspiring and well-known place is somehow able to maintain its secluded atmosphere and quiet existence. Of course, a place as beautiful and renowned as Malibu will attract visitors from all walks of life, and while visiting, you’re going to want to eat, aren’t you? That’s why we at TheTravel have compiled this list of the 20 Go-To Restaurants in Malibu while protecting your bank account from taking the kind of hit that may come with trying to keep pace with the rich and famous who flock to these shores. From seafood and pizza on the coast to fine dining in the Santa Monica Hills, this list will help you navigate the dining experiences of scenic Malibu and live like a celebrity without accumulating a celebrity-size bill at the end. So kick back, put on some sunscreen, and try not to read this on an empty stomach. Here are our 20 Go-To Restaurants In Malibu (That Are Actually Affordable).
20 Fish Grill
Aaron Klein’s guiding principle at Fish Grill is “Simply the Freshest.” And when you’re looking for fresh in a town like Malibu, well then you know it can’t get much better than that. This small, inviting seafood treasure is located just off the Pacific Coast Highway, a stone’s throw from the Malibu Surfrider Beach. The attitude is clear upon arrival – local, down-to-earth, and genuine. With a surf shop upstairs and such a small space, you’ll feel like a local with the inside track on where the real seafood is made and where it can be had for reasonable prices.
The menu offers seafood of all varieties from healthy conscious Ahi poke bowls to all out surf and turf skewers.
Fish Grill is kosher and grills its fish over mesquite coals so that the high temperatures can lock in the succulent juices, and for over 20 years, they’ve been serving locals and visitors alike and leaving all of them satisfied.
While traditional seafood may be the first thing to come to mind when dining in Malibu, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to go to the classics. For everything that Malibu has, Chinese food is one thing that this beautiful strip of California is severely lacking. Luckily, Kaishin exists to quell our appetite. Located at the end of Malibu Colony, a mile-long stretch of gorgeous beachside properties, sits a quaint restaurant perfect for those looking for their Chinese fix. The interior is modern and warm with low hanging lights that settle customers into a family-friendly environment. Like many of the other locations on this list, Kaishin is proud to sell the healthy stuff. Their ingredients include grass-fed meats, fresh seafood, and locally sourced vegetables while also providing gluten-free options. Kaishin is truly a tantalizing option for the sweet and spicy flavors of Chinese food while staying healthy and avoiding overly priced menus.
18 Neptune's Net
Every travel destination has its iconic restaurant, the place you take your selfies in front of and tell your friends and family you ate at when they ask. For Malibu, that place is right across the street from County Line Beach, and it’s called Neptune’s Net. You’ve probably seen Neptune’s Net in movies like The Fast & The Furious or Point Break, but that doesn’t mean this coastal gem isn’t affordable or accessible.
Known for their fresh shrimp, oyster, calamari burgers, and clam chowder, Neptune’s Net snuggles customers into old school wooden booths surrounded by fishing nets and string lights,
and provides a gorgeous view of the golden coast from their tall glass windows. This place has a flavor all its own, a biker’s hangout and an aging surf spot all wrapped into one unique place to eat right off the PCH. Neptune’s Net is a place you can’t go wrong with.
17 Lily's Malibu
Sometimes it’s nice to eat somewhere where you can put a face to the name over the front door. And if you go to Lily’s Malibu, east of Zuma Beach on the PCH, then you’re liable to see Lily herself serving up fresh, authentic Hispanic cuisine. Lily epitomizes the American Dream, an immigrant who moved to California from El Salvador to pursue her dream of bringing real Hispanic flavors to Malibu.
What started as a small pastry shop has ballooned into some of the best, most affordable food Malibu has to offer,
and while Lily’s is a great place to stop by for lunch after a long day sunbathing on the beach, it’s the breakfast you want to go there for. Lily’s Malibu makes some of the best breakfast burritos around by slow-cooking re-fried beans, mixing in melted cheese, fluffy eggs, and thick-cut bacon and serving generous portions that will leave you stuffed.
16 The Sunset Restaurant
The Sunset Restaurant, if it wasn’t already obvious from the name, is a golden standard of Malibu dining. Situated along a strip of Zuma Beach, only a few minutes away from Point Dume and Pirates Cove, this is the perfect place to go if you’re either coming from, or just getting ready to hit the beach. The exterior, like the name, is modern and it cuts right to the chase. A revitalized historic bungalow, the building is draped in a white, light house exterior with black trim, while still maintaining a modern look about it. The seating offers guests a panoramic view of the ocean, perfect for – you guessed it – basking in the sunset. The menu offers affordable signature cocktails and continental dishes with American inspiration. One of our personal favorites is the arugula flatbread with tomatoes and parmesan cheese. You can’t go wrong with The Sunset Restaurant.
15 Tramonto Bistro
Driving down a quiet strip of the Pacific Coast Highway (yes, we’ll be doing that a lot on this list – it’s the lifeline through the heart of Malibu), you’ll find yourself at Malibu Beach, and on this quiet strip, you’ll see a small, family friendly Italian restaurant. But don’t blink, or you might miss it, and you don’t want to do that. Tramonto Bistro is one of the finest Italian restaurants Malibu has to offer and when it comes to fine Italian cuisine at reasonable prices, these guys don’t mess around. The interior is quiet and unassuming, evoking a feeling of dining in a small Italian bistro off the beaten path of Northern Italy.
The servers here take food to new levels of art as they prepare fresh chicken Caesar salad right before your eyes.
Another favorite of this small bistro is their famous gelato which is made in fresh in the restaurant and considered some of the best in Malibu.
14 Ollie's Duck & Dive
Don’t let the name fool you on this one. Locally owned and just a quick trip from Point Dume and Zuma Beach, Ollie’s Duck & Dive is anything but a dive. This pub serves an array of foods that are mouthwateringly good without breaking the bank, and if that wasn’t enough, Ollie’s is health conscious about their menu items. Locally sourced, Ollie’s meats are free-range and hormone free. That means local favorites like the Duck Fries, The Drunk Mac & Cheese, and the Bison burger will satisfy your appetite without making you feel guilty in the process. The location is open and welcoming with a modern look that will attract anyone looking for electric cocktails, a wide selection of wines, and craft beers. And in keeping with the feel of a pub, Ollie’s Duck and Dive also hosts live music events that you can look up on the calendar available on their site.
Some of you are probably wondering. Maybe some of you are even scrolling, doing a quick scan hoping to see what we have to say about one of the staples of American dining. What about the pizza? Well, Spruzzo’s Restaurant and Bar, right off the PCH, and just above Zuma Beach has got you covered.
This upscale, family-friendly restaurant is one of the few pizzerias in Malibu that is proud to use a wood-fired, brick oven to cook their delicious, massive portions of Italian style pizza.
We really do emphasize family-friendly here because the service at Spruzzo’s is second to none with a quality staff of engaging servers. It should also come as no surprise that Spruzzo’s offers a beautiful, 360 degree view of the ocean from their second floor balcony and for those traveling in the winters where temperatures can drop to a low of 45 degrees, the balcony comes equipped with a beautiful, toasty fire pit.
12 Marmalade Cafe
Marmalade Cafe is a local favorite for most Los Angelians. What started as a small cafe in Santa Monica has grown into one of the most popular destinations for those looking for fresh, high quality dining. Founded by three young friends over 20 years ago, the exterior of the restaurant has an old western quality to it, with its stucco walls and wooden beams, but there’s nothing old time about this Malibu favorite. The Malibu location stands out near the Malibu Lagoon and offers spacious high ceilings for a soothing experience while also providing some affordable prices on California style delicacies. And
when we say California style, we mean Marmalade has it all – breakfast, lunch dinner, holidays, weekdays, no matter what you’re in the mood for or when, Marmalade Cafe is the place to go.
Marmalade is also perfect for large groups and private parties, as it has done business with some of the biggest companies in Los Angeles.
11 Coral Beach Cantina
In the mood for Mexican? We usually are. There may not be a more iconic duo in food than Southern California and Mexican cuisine. Something about the two come together to perfectly blend two different cultures into some of the best food out there, so we’ve decided to put up our favorite Mexican around in Malibu. Coral Beach Cantina is a casual Point Dume favorite among locals and visitors alike. Upon arrival, you are greeted with fresh, homemade salsa and warm tortilla chips and given a menu with an astonishing array of Mexican cuisines, although we highly recommend the nachos. The ambiance is calming and inviting with an open patio that is beautifully sheltered by the shade of tall surrounding trees. The fauna grows all around you and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped off the beaten path to unwind for some truly mesmerizing food. Coral Cantina has been putting smiles on people’s faces since 1979, so you know they’re doing something right.
10 Malibu Seafood
There’s an idea about dining in Malibu, an image we all have about what the experience will be like. The beach, the sun, the ocean spraying and the blue glass expanding beyond the horizon. Fresh sea smells, and even fresher seafood. The iconic Pacific Coast Highway and the best prices. Well, we’re happy to report that this essential Malibu experience is real, and it has a name which should come as no surprise. You’ll spot Malibu Seafood by the sign posted off the PCH with the giant red lobster sunbathing and waving you in.
This fresh fish market has an array of seafood delicacies and an overwhelming option of fresh seafood on display if you want to bring some fish back with you.
It can’t get any more Malibu that this. You can either eat on the patio benches and enjoy the view of the Coral Canyon beach or take your fried oysters and clam chowder to go and bring it down to the beach. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
9 Duke's Malibu
The adventure of trying new places and opening your taste palate to new, succulent experiences is why we have lists like this in the first place, but sometimes you just want to go somewhere you trust, somewhere you’ve been before where you know exactly what you’re going to get. We understand. Familiarity is not always a bad thing. That’s why we included Duke’s Malibu on this list. Named after the famous Olympic athlete who brought surfing to the mainland, Duke’s is a brand we can trust, one that anyone can vouch for. With locations all throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the coast of Southern California, Duke’s guarantees quality and affordability. So stop by the Barefoot Bar and have a signature cocktail while enjoying the crystal blue, open-air space of Duke’s. Just south of Tuna Canyon Park, Duke’s is the perfect place to go for tropical vibes and beach ambiance while remaining confident that you’re getting quality food and service.
8 Saddle Peak Lodge
A common theme among these restaurants on our list has been the beach. We get it, not everyone is a beach person, so we thought we’d round out the list with something a little more inland. North of the beautiful Pepperdine campus from the hit show Zoey 101, along the snaking Canyon Road, you’ll find a cozy restaurant wrapped in the Santa Monica Hills. The Saddle Peak Lodge is a mountain side escape just 15 minutes from the coast. Come sit by the cobblestone fire place, in a dimly lit wooden interior, perfect for a romantic night out. The Saddle Peak Lodge is a go-to destination for weddings and events, but also provides a quiet setting for candle-lit dinners and a wine selection that won’t break the bank. Dark ambiance and the flavor of the old west make this rustic gem a fresh change of pace from the beachside seafood normally found in Malibu.
7 Paradise Cove Beach Cafe
Malibu is teeming with nostalgia. Cruising along the PCH with the top down while the wind blows in your hair, you can’t help but wonder how such a beautiful strip of Southern California coast can seem so immune to time. Well, for the best taste of nostalgia that Malibu has to offer, head on over to Paradise Cove and stop by the Paradise Cove beach Cafe. Family owned and operated, this quintessential Malibu restaurant is the perfect casual dining experience for all occasions.
Their menu is not only affordable but includes over 80 items.
Perfect for breakfast, Paradise Cove Beach Cafe offers outdoor seating in their unique dining patio where you can order from a dozen different types of omelettes. But Paradise Cove Beach Cafe is perfect for all times of day with a delectable salad bar at lunch and seafood classics like Spanish paella for dinner. The walls of the Paradise Beach Cove Cafe are covered in black and white photos dating back to the 1800’s. This restaurant will whisk you back to golden age Malibu.
For the ideal casual dining experience, a nice place to soak in the fresh, salty air, and listen to the ocean crash against the rocks, we recommend Moonshadows. Just off the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll find this little treasure which serves anything from Asian Fusion to Italian and American style. Moonshadows is one of the best ocean dining experiences with its open air sundeck where you can sit facing the deep blue Pacific, and ease back as the waves roll by. And if the calming sea isn’t your thing, Moonshadows also features an outdoor lounging area complete with cabanas and live DJ music. This is the place we recommend if you’re looking to have a few drinks, take it easy, and have a taste of the Southern California lifestyle. The Blue Lounge Bar offers premium drinks for affordable prices. So whether you're looking for cocktails before dinner or a nightcap before bed, Moonshadows makes our list as the best restaurant to feed your nightlife hunger.
Nobu may not only be one of the most beautiful restaurants in all of Malibu, but it might be pushing one of the most beautiful in the world. Like many other dining experiences on this list, Nobu is situated perfectly for those looking to dine with an ocean view, but that’s where the similarities end. Japanese culture and architecture is infused into every aspect of Nobu’s modern look. You’ll enter feeling as though you’ve left the rest of the world behind.
Nobu serves some of the freshest quality raw fish and sushi with a menu that will convince you that you’ve arrived in the heart of Tokyo.
Whether you’re looking to dine in the beautiful and enchanting interior with its wooden walls, or dine out on the patio as the pacific waves roll, Nobu is a place you’ll remember fondly, and one that you will tell all of your friends and family back home about.
4 Inn Of The Seventh Ray
Up in the Santa Monica Hills, surrounded by Topanga State Park, sits a distinctively spectacular restaurant that immerses customers into the beautiful nature of Malibu. You can’t go wrong with the beach when in Southern California, but there really are some gorgeous state parks that surround Malibu to the north, and the Inn of the Seventh Ray takes advantage of that fact with their outdoor venue. Waiters travel along a snaking path of spiraling stairs, along walls buried in thick ivy growth, to serve customers who eat under diverse trees and shrubbery, so that you’ll feel as though you’re eating in the Gardens of the Babylon. And this affordable dreamscape offers a much needed escape from the sun as the tall trees and plants provide a cool, soothing shade while you dine on some of the most delicious desserts in the Santa Monica Hills. A specialty of the Inn of the Seventh Ray is wedding events, and when you eat there, you’ll see why, but the hidden oasis remains perfect for any occasion where you find your stomach growling.
3 Geoffrey's Malibu
To this point, we’ve strived to find the perfect balance between affordability and unique dining experiences to help you navigate your next trip to Malibu. And for the seaside views and delectable menus in one of the most famous coastal cities in the world, I think we’ve compiled quite a list. Here is where we alter course slightly. Geoffrey’s Malibu may be the more expensive destination on the list, but where it lacks in affordability, Geoffrey’s more than makes up for in flavor and ambiance. One of most famous restaurants in Malibu, a favorite for celebrities, businessmen, politicians, and locals alike, Geoffrey’s serves foods with unique blends of culture and flavor. And did we mention the view? Geoffrey’s was designed to give each seat in the restaurant a border-less, panoramic view of the ocean while you dine on rich California cuisine. All things considered, for what you’re getting, it’s still a reasonable price.
2 Taverna Tony
Nestled between the Perenchio Golf Course and the Malibu Lagoon, is a little restaurant surrounded by whitewashed walls and a thick growth of ornamental bougainvillea that serves some of the best Greek in all of Malibu. When you walk through the blue doors, evocative of the island of Santorini, you’ll think you’ve been whisked away to a Mediterranean paradise. The seafood in Malibu is unrivalled, but Toverna Tony provides an ambience unlike any other.
The Greek inspired menu is affordable and mouth-watering. Most would recommend starting your night off with something to drink, along with a side of molten kefalograviera (a Greek sheep's milk cheese)
the waiter sends up into a ball of flame before you dig in with pita bread. Most of the restaurants on this list are unique in their own ways, but Taverna Tony is truly a one-of-a-kind dining experience. So put on something light for the warm Malibu night and eat outside on the patio under the Mediterranean mood.
1 Malibu Farm
If you’re looking to dine ocean side while the sun sets over the Pacific, then look no further than Malibu Farm. That’s because this fresh, locally owned restaurant is located nearly 800 feet past the shore on the Malibu Pier, just east of Surfrider Beach. Owner Helene Henderson sources ingredients from small, local farms, so that your meal arrives to you as fresh as the ocean breeze.
This seaside dining experiences offers entrees and appetizers ranging from tacos, seafood, breakfast sandwiches, and even vegan and vegetarian options, and all of it reasonably priced.
You won’t find your heart rate spike when the receipt arrives, and Malibu Farm is a laid back venue where you can sit back and relax after you’ve eaten. Enjoy the view from the pier, but while you’re there, be sure to snap some photos of the Scandinavian-inspired interior that makes Malibu Farm more than just another ocean side dining experience. This stands out as a unique and affordable dining experience in beautiful Malibu, California.